Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was happy to see a better balance between passing and running plays against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday. The mix was a definite factor in the team's win over the Panthers.
The Falcons ran the ball 32 times for 170 yards and threw it 28 times for 272 yards. In the opening loss to the Eagles, Atlanta ran 27 times for 113 yards and threw it 35 times for 119 yards. They controlled the ball for 29:42 against Carolina after possessing it for only 27:50 against the Eagles.
"I was pleased to see the balance in our run game and the play action that goes with that," Quinn said. "To get the attempts in the run, I thought that was significant."
It was only possible thanks to the efforts of Tevin Coleman, who became the first player to run for 100 yards against Carolina in 21 games, and rookie Ito Smith. Coleman rushed 16 times for 107 yards, with a long run of 36 yards. Smith, who did not have a rushing attempt in the opener, carried nine times for 46 yards and was instrumental in spelling Coleman while the team moved in position for a score.
The duo filled in nicely for Devonta Freeman, who missed his second game with a knee contusion.
"Tevin Coleman certainly ran hard and this is an excellent front seven," Quinn said. "It's been difficult to get yards against them. Coleman, I thought, certainly responded. Ito Smith ... it was good to get him involved. You got your first chance to see him as a runner, his change of direction and the change of pace that he can provide. I thought from the offensive line standpoint and the running backs, we stayed committed."
Quinn said on Monday that Freeman's comeback is a day-to-day thing and refuted published reports that Freeman might be out another two or three weeks.
"We're not sure where that report came from, but it certainly didn't come from us," Quinn said. "So we're going to continue in that spot of day-to-day and when Devonta can show the same explosion that he plays with, then we'll let him do his thing. But until that part comes, we're not going to put a timetable on it."
RB Devonta Freeman is listed as day-to-day while he recovers from a right knee contusion. He was injured in the first quarter of the Eagles game.
DE Takk McKinley's status is uncertain for Sunday's game against New Orleans. He suffered a groin injury in the final minutes of the Carolina game. His status will be updated on Wednesday.
OG Andy Levitre left the game with an injured left elbow and is questionable for the New Orleans game. He missed time during training camp with a triceps injury. His status will be updated on Wednesday.
DE Derrick Shelby has a groin injury suffered early in the Carolina game. His status will be updated on Wednesday.
LB Duke Riley moved from the outside to the middle and replaced the injured Deion Jones. The second-year player from LSU shared the team lead with nine tackles, seven of them solo stops.
WR Calvin Ridley, the team's 2018 first-round draft choice, got his most extensive amount of playing time. Ridley caught four passes on five targets for 64 yards, including his first touchdown. Ridley also returned two kickoffs for a 25-yard average.
CB Brian Poole was limited in practice last week with an ankle issue and not cleared until Friday. He responded with seven tackles, six solo, and sacked Cam Newton for a 12-yard loss on a corner blitz.